Wednesday, March 22, 2017
This month, we have a veritable buffet of dolls for you to enjoy, plus our regular features. There are also the usual great auction reports, doll shows, and wonderful information for those who love to collect antique dolls.
We feature an incredible doll collection, that of Vicenza Fedele, Part I, in a terrific article by our own Lynn Murray. These collector profiles are always inspiring and great fun to read.
Our collectibles column features fairy dolls, for all those inspired by fairy gardens, fairy tales, and fairy art.
Miniature lovers will be intrigued by the article “The Small and Cozy World of Walfrid Victoreen”, while those who love small dolls will enjoy “The Artistry of French Mlle Riera Dolls” and “A Glimpse at Savoie.”
“Toy Ahoy! Floating Bisque Novelties of the early 1900s” will make everyone long for the beach and all that summer brings.
This is only the tip of the iceberg; there is much more!
Enjoy our beautiful April issue, and enjoy your spring doll collecting adventures!!
Thursday, March 16, 2017
I first met this month's interviewee when I was living in San Jose. We had a mutual friend in Mrs. Ruby Sargent, the former owner of the local Nice Twice Doll Shop. Gloria was an inspiration to anyone who loved dolls, and she had wonderful ideas for collecting. It is an honor and a pleasure to share her thoughts, and her historic doll, here:
Interview Questions for Antique Doll Collector
Interview Questions for Antique Doll Collector
When did you start collecting?
I bought Composition Madame Alexanders, Ideal, Artist dolls such as Robin Woods, Dolls by Jerri, Heidi Ott and even some of those home shopping network ones in those early years , but then everything changed.
In the mid 80's I was browsing in my favorite antique shop in San Jose and they had just bought an antique doll collection. I bought my first doll book that day, a Jan Foulke Guide, and started learning about dolls. The next few weeks, I bought the Coleman's Encyclopedia and devoured every word. Then I went back to the doll shop to see if any of those dolls were left.
I saw one that I just loved and I bought her. Her label said that she was an AM but when I got her home, I discovered the numbers 1123 1/2 on her shoulder plate. In a few minutes I knew that she was an ABG. She was a 28 Inch Beauty and I have been hooked every since.
My first antique doll was a bisque, but in those early years, I just saw dolls and bought every thing. Now I focus on the Early German Bisque dolls. I think that my eye has changed over the years. When you have the ability to see a lot of dolls, it can't help but change your perspective because you become aware of subtle painting techniques and view the antique doll as an Art object instead of a child's play thing.
What are your favorite types of dolls?
I love the early pale bisque dolls from Kling, ABG and Simon & Halbig. In my first collection I bought dolls of all mediums because I wanted each of them represented, but now my primary focus are the early dolls from Germany.
What are the characteristics that attract you to a certain doll?
One of the first things I notice about a doll is the clothing. I was lucky enough in my first collection to have many all original dolls, both mommy-dressed and factory dressed. I am fascinated by the skill it took to make those costumes. If a doll has a story, then that is close to my heart also. I have been lucky enough to own several family dolls and have written those stories to remain with the dolls and for the future generation of care takers.
Do you sew for your dolls?
I should make all kinds of doll clothing considering that I once used to sew for Vanity Fair, but I have only made one doll dress for a low brow china. The smallness of the patterns is just something that I am not an expert at, although I greatly admire those that have that ability.
In my early collecting days, I was lucky enough to purchase a doll from Mrs Hinz's son, of K & H dolls. She went to Germany and studied with the Armand Marseilles dressmakers to learn how to sew the clothes for their dolls and I bought one of her dresses. Here is the dress and doll formerly belonging to Mrs Hinz. She is a 1278 Dep model from ABG ca. 1892:
|ABG, once part of the K&H doll family. Courtesy Gloria Kimmel|
I am what I call a "heart collector". If I want to hug the doll, then that is one that would make it home to join my collection.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
This month, I was privileged to interview a very unique doll artist who works in wood, Marry Tuthill, who has a wonderful Facebook page called Marry’s Lost and Found, as well as an Etsy shop.
I met her last fall during the Spoon River Scenic Drive. I bought one of her fully articulated wooden dolls, aka, “Bittersweets” because they were so unusual. My doll has long black hair and her stand is a repurposed lamp base. Marry understands what Tottie and Miss Hickory did, too, that wood is a living substance. Marry’s dolls remind one of the finest marionettes combined with the dignity of a Queen Anne doll. Like me, Marry is interested in automatons and movement in dolls. She also loves bronze statues and her work shows a careful understanding of movement as well as meticulous craftsmanship. She is interested in animating all dolls, or giving the impression that they can move, hence any of her dolls could work as a mobile. Marry intrigues me in many ways. I am touched by her artist’s history because my grandfather was also a carpenter and my own father did a lot of woodworking. They both were very fond of their tools and took care of them, just as I love my paint brushes, sculpting tools, and knitting needles. Marry is that rare creature, both artist and collector, and her understanding and love of dolls comes through her work.
- How did you get into doll making?I guess it was a natural process. I started out taking the eye makeup off of a Barbie and then changing her lips.
Mermaid by Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.
- Who is your favorite artist? Doll Artist?I love, love Gustav Klimt. As far as dolls I can play with a Madame Alexander adult dolls; my aunt had a case of dolls that I could look at for hours.
Carved Mermaid Head as a Work in Progress. Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.
Mermaid Body as a Work in Progress. Marry Tuthill. Marry’s Lost and Found.
- Do you collect dolls? What kind?I don’t have a collection per se. I have a Maxi doll from my childhood and a Jem doll that I rerooted to be a redhead. I have a dozen or so. One is antique, another papier mache, and I even have a Monster High bat girl. So I don’t have a group of one maker, but a little of everything.
One of Marry’s full articulated wooden dolls. Marry Tuthill. Marry’s Lost and Found.
- What inspires you?I never played with the dolls like my cousins. I always wanted to make the clothes, pose and build the tiny world around them. The movement of a female automaton that could assume any position without losing a feminine style always interested me. The possibility of a MEGO Dorothy doll moving that way would have me fascinated.
Dressed Dolls, including a redhead to the left. Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.
- What other antiques or art sparks your interest?Woodworking and furniture are interests for me and are part of my own history. The intricacies of a mechanical table that was made without power tools and the time and care of carving four claw feet that match perfectly intrigues me. I love my tiger maple clad treadle sewing machine. Also, the thought that I get to use a 100 year old hand crank grinder in my day- to- day life to make my dolls is so fun. My tools being prettier than the things I make with them is so girly and fun!
One of Marry’s Dolls in an Elegant Frock. Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.
6. Why do you use wood as a medium to create dolls?
My dad and granddad were wood workers. I made doll furniture and then my own "bad" houses out of scraps. It wasn’t until four years ago that the lady wind chime became a doll that everyone wanted to touch and play with. I get caught up in the way wood feels and the grain turns into an ankle or chick. They feel like they have been alive because the wood has been. More than once, I started one thing and the wood changed how the doll looked and her tone was much better for it.
An example of Marry’s woodworking art. Marry Tuthill, Marry’s Lost and Found.
7. What do you think the future will hold for your art dolls?
I hope to keep playing with movement and size. Each doll is her own creation. The next one I make is my favorite, created with simple movement of45° hips with sculpted knees and legs that hang just so. I hope they make their next owner as happy as I am when I’m creating them.
8. Are you looking for anything special?
As far as dolls, I look for old joints and craftsmanship. I love fashion art dolls and curvy porcelain. I love old bronze statues and would love to have them in motion. A doll that I want to play with is so hard to resist. It’s hard to say what that is, but you know it when you see it.